Patrick’s Day.

It’s that peculiarly Irish day again tomorrow. My plans are to head off with the kids into town for the parade just like last year. They are looking forward to it, as am I, even if their presence limits me to one pint.  Unlike last time around we will be without my wife as she is in the US lobbying on the Boston College case. More the pity as she wouldn’t mind me having one too many to add to the festivities.  Drogheda always puts on a great display and, weather permitting, for its denizens the shamrock will be drowned with something other than rain.

Whatever about the elements, the shamrock will definitely be drowned more than it will be blessed even though the day is still officially one named after the island’s national saint. My son even told me he had to wear green at school rather than his uniform, despite his top being green, for ‘St’ Patrick’s Day. My more secular reference to it as Patrick’s Day he seemed not to notice. And I have no intention of changing how he refers to it.

Although religious in origin the day is a national holiday to be celebrated by all who regard themselves as Irish and, if they so choose, by those who are of some other nationality. It is as much a secular event as it is a religious one. People who prefer to drop the sainthood reference are free to do so, just as those who wish to retain it in their discourse are equally free. Hardly something for people to fall out over unless some want to ram their preference down the throats of others.

I noticed that in the US outrage is supposed to have been generated as a result of attempts by one school to rename the day O’Green Day so as to give it a more ‘inclusive and diverse’ feel. Lisa Curtin, the Irish American principal at the Soule Road School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts wanted to remove the Catholic overtones. Given that there are more people than Catholics celebrating the day, her ethos is not to be faulted. In February she did something similar when she rechristened (wrong term for the politically correct) Valentine’s Day as ‘Caring and Kindness Day’.

It is just that her choice of replacement term for St Patrick’s Day is a bit odd. She could easily have dropped the Saint term and left the name pretty much the same as it is but instantly recognisable. Some parents have criticised her actions as ‘political correctness gone too far’. While it certainly has a feel of that to it, O’Green Day seems to have more of an element of self-parody to it. It takes us uncomfortably close to imagery of Leprechauns and the like. Be that as it may, the day is one for the wearing of the green.

Legend for sure, as Ireland is not believed to have been home to snakes in the era of Patrick, but the man who we stage revelry in honour of tomorrow is hailed as having rid the country of that particular reptile. Pity they returned as the IMF and administered a severe dosage of austerity venom to society, paralysing the most vulnerable. Those who have it will drown the shamrock and the many who don’t will not be able to drown their sorrows.


  1. Anthony,

    in Quebec, we also change the name of our national Holiday, not from individual initiative but by the government. It is now more secular but a lot more politique, we change it from St-Jean-Baptiste to Fête Nationale. I am more a two pints guy with my children on that day:) But tomorrow, St-Patrick's day will be well celebrate in Quebec. In Quebec, if my memory is correct, more than 25% of the population have irish blood in their veins. On St-Patrick's day it is 100% of the population who have irish beer in their veins!
    Happy St-Patrick's Day to you all.

  2. I,m lying here in Aberdeen having spent Paddys day serving out over 200 bowls of stew and trying to down as many pints inbetween telling everyone after the rugby disaster that Patrick wasnt Irish anyway, which reminds me
    about the time we were held at gunpoint by Welsh guards in Auchnacloy on the border,they called st Patrick a bastard and we burst out laughing,pissed them of no end when we agreed with them even after they said "so are all his country men" my sides were sore laughing "couldnt agree more we said...

  3. hope you had a good day recovering from yesterday.

  4. André

    It was an enjoyable day all round. We finished off the day by watching, Once Upon A Time In America. Our Irish pride left us as soon as we settled in front of the TV.
    I think in Ireland the government should just refer to it as Patrick’s Day and keep any religious overtones out of government discourse in public.


    Pity you having to consume all that drink in Aberdeen. It is a city I have never been to. Was in Glasgow and Edinburgh but never made it to Aberdeen. Might head over to you for a pint some time!


    I had a good day. Seems you had a lot to swallow! Bad result for you!